A visit to the George Washington Carver National Monument

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Anyone with a connection to Iowa State University would be proud to see the university’s influences on one of our most beloved graduates highlighted at the George Washington Carver National Monument in Diamond, Mo.

Part of the National Park Service, the Carver Memorial is set near Carver’s birthplace on the Moses and Susan Carver farm in southern Missouri. He was born a slave in 1864; his mother was kidnapped when George was a child. He was raised by the Carvers, whose graves are located at the memorial.

The memorial features two main areas: the Carver Discovery Center and the Carver Trail. The Discovery Center is an indoor exhibit where children are encouraged to perform interactive tasks and all ages will learn about Carver’s life and his exceptional research and service. The one-mile Carver Trail winds through woodlands that Carver would have explored as a boy. Visitors will see the 1881 Moses Carver house and statues of Carver as a boy and as a man. Some of the exhibits include recordings of Carver’s voice, which was high and frail due to his bout with whooping cough as a young child.

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As a young man, Carver spent several years in Iowa. He attended Simpson College in Indianola, where he studied art and piano in 1890-91. He studied botany at Iowa State, where he received a bachelor’s degree in agricultural science in 1894 and a master of science in 1896. He was Iowa State’s first African-American faculty member before leaving to take a position at Tuskegee Institute in Alabama.

To get to the Carver National Monument, take Hwy. 71 south from Kansas City. Diamond is just south of Carthage and east of Joplin.

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